5 Strategies For Taking Better Notes In Class

Taking notes in a college class can be very overwhelming; many professors will lecture for hours on end, barely stopping to breathe!

How are you supposed to remember all the information if you can’t even write it down?

In high school, teachers usually write the whole lesson on the board or sometimes even hand out typed notes, but in college it’s generally the opposite.

It’s up to the students to follow the thread of the lecture and determine what may or may not be important enough to write down.

As an English minor, I’ve spent a great deal of time being lectured by professors, and through personal experience and from watching others, I’ve learned a few tips on how to take notes that will actually be useful during finals time.

If it’s on the board, WRITE IT DOWN

If you only listen to one thing I say, listen to this: If a professor takes the time to walk over to the board and actually write out a word or phrase, you can bet that it’s not just important, it will most definitely be a question on the final.

Learn to abbreviate

Professors don’t usually stop so you can catch up with your notes, and most of the time there’s no good chance to ask for them to repeat themselves. Learning to abbreviate common words will save you precious note-taking time. This is where all that time you spend texting comes in handy, use your text abbreviations here!


By listening, I don’t mean just hear the words that your professor is saying, I mean listen to how he’s saying them. Is he repeating a point or phrase over again? Is he suddenly raising his voice? Is he gesturing with his hands and putting emphasis on a certain word? All these are signs that he’s saying something significant and you should write all of it down.

Bring a laptop

Unless you’re technologically challenged, chances are you type a million times faster than you write. So, bring your computer to class and type your notes. However, before you do so, find out what the policy is for using laptops in class; while most professors don’t have a problem with it, there are still some who don’t allow it.

Use a tape recorder

This is something I’ve never actually done, but I know people who swear by it. By recording the lecture, you can rest easy knowing that whatever notes you don’t get down on paper won’t be lost forever, you can always go back and listen to the recording. I’ve also heard that listening to the lecture for a second time helps you not just to check that your notes are correct but to reinforce key points and make sure you remember them.

You first few college lectures can be very overwhelming, but after you get used to a professor’s style, they become more manageable. As long as you learn to take notes correctly, you’ll be able to create your own study guides and better understand the class.

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.
Mercedes Espinoza

Mercedes Espinoza

Mercedes Espinoza is a senior at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a degree in Multimedia Journalism. Although reading is her first love, writing is a close second and she can usually be found with her nose in a book or hunched over a laptop typing away. Outside of school and work, she’s interested in all things fitness as well as continuing to grow an already massive nail polish collection.